Monetization of Personal Information: A New Paradigm

We are often lured into sharing our email address for premium access or allowing those “harmless” cookies for a better browsing experience. But we now know that the goal of most websites, apps or social media platforms is not as simple as it seems. In this digital age, our data is the product and free service is the carrot (albeit a very small one).

How valuable is your data? The infographic below gives you real insight on what is your data’s value is if it is stolen online.

Source: Experian

The Problem

Safety: Personal data is the new oil and “data monarchs” like Facebook and Google are the new miners; but a lot of data is being spilled over the net. In the Equifax breach, 143 million accounts were compromised. Facebook’s security breach exposed 50 million people’s data and Marriott had almost 500 million accounts breached. If multi-billion dollar companies can’t (or won’t) invest to secure our data, how safe is our personal information over the big bad Internet?

Value: An even bigger moral and ethical issue is who owns our personal data? An article by the artist Will.I.Am in the Economist raises a poignant question on how personal data is being used as a raw material by internet giants without any financial value to the user. The monetization of our information has created trillions of dollars in market cap, but the wider society is yet to see any monetary benefits trickle down.

The Opportunity

Everybody is now aware of how valuable personal data is. But an individual willing to sell his data has no sway in the market and internet companies do not want to share the bounty. As Will.I.Am writes in the Economist, “Social-media platforms are the companies of today, but they are not the companies of tomorrow. The next data giants will create new types of services designed to help people. They will become the most valuable companies in the world by providing beneficial new uses of data and AI for people, based on a combination of trust, services that improve one’s life and the involvement of communities.”

The business opportunity is to create a win-win platform where all stakeholders in the ecosystem enjoy the financial and non-financial benefits of sharing their data. The current players are too beholden to their existing revenue models to change. This pain point is massive and the answer lies in leveraging new technologies like AI and blockchain for data safety, unique multi-dimensional insights and decentralization of data ownership.  

The Solution: ImagineBC

ImagineBC is a technological solutions company that believes it is a steward of its users data and not the owner. It will promote peer-to-peer commerce within its collection of decentralized mobile applications. The bulk of the revenue generated will accrue to the data owners/creators and the company will only charge a small transaction fee. The company is set to disenfranchise the “middlemen” and allow users to capture the maximum value from their own data. ImagineBC’s business model might currently be considered revolutionary as we are leaving a big chunk of money on the table for users and not for ourselves. But we truly believe that the current power structure is untenable and the data-stewardship model is the only feasible way to proceed for businesses of tomorrow.

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